Pastor's Blog

Pastor's Note - August 10

For the sake of time and attention spans, on Sunday morning I skipped over something in the text that isn’t crucial to the overall point of the passage, but that I do find interesting. Malachi 2:14 states that the Lord “was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless…” The men of Israel were faithless in divorcing their wives, even though the Lord was witness in their marriage ceremonies. One interesting implication of this is that there was some sort of formal ceremony, with witnesses, in Hebrew marriages. Some have suggested that it was only the act of consummation that made people married, and the marriage “ceremony” itself was not significant. This says otherwise. Getting married involved a formal ceremony, complete with witnesses. In fact, those witnesses were intended to have a more active role in the keeping of the covenant than we expect in our day. In our weddings, the “witnesses” in attendance simply serve as guests and observers. We don’t even ask anymore if anyone objects to the union. This is undoubtedly a good thing, but it does decidedly remove the observers from any active role in the marriage itself. In Israel, however, the witnesses were generally anticipated to be “enforcers” of the covenant. As witnesses, they were expected to hold the married couple accountable to the covenant they had made. The Israelites obviously failed in this task. But God is a faithful witness. In Malachi, He is serving as an enforcer of the marriage covenant, taking the Israelite men to task for their unfaithfulness to their covenant partners. And ultimately, in Christ, God will enforce covenant faithfulness as Christ and the Church are wed and faithful forever.

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